Sunday, November 30, 2008

Buy Benedictine World-Wide. A Benedictine oblate blog

Consider giving a gift from a Benedictine monastery this Christmas.

Yes, I know it is a problem to get in your car or board your plane to find Benedictine monasteries with gift shops. What will you do, what will you do?

Not to worry. Here are six Benedictine monasteries on three continents with online gift shops, three from sisters and three from monks. How about that?

Sisters' Online Shops

Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri

2. The Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho.

3. Jamberoo Abbey, Australia

Monks' Online Shops

St. Leo Abbey Pilgrim Gift Shop, St. Leo, Florida

2. St. Benedict Monastery in Oxford, Michigan

3. Ampleforth Abbey, United Kingdom

You will find special and unique gifts for your family and friends. Many gifts have that distinctive Benedictine monastic style.

You will also be supporting the ancient monastic traditions of monks and sisters selling products to help maintain their monastic way of life — think of it as your double gift.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What's New -- Oblate Spring web site housekeeping

This oblate blog is the companion of the Oblate Spring web site. The Oblate Spring web site has handy information for people who have never heard of Benedictine oblates, but who are looking for a deeper spirituality in their busy lives. That was me a few years ago and I might be able to help others who think an oblate is only an odd-shaped spheroid.

Well, recently I reorganized the Oblate Spring web site to make finding information easier. After I worked for hours and thought the revisions were good, it occurred to me that another revision might be to designate the first page you go to after entering the web site as Page 1 and the next page could be called Page 2. So the key pages you should visit to get the essential information could actually be numbered in the order you should read them!

This insight was like a light dawning in my head. I thought that this concept of numbering each page in order might even be used in other media like books, magazines, and newspapers!

So, it was back for several more hours of work on the web site to incorporate this innovation.

In addition, there are more links on the oblate resources page of the web site and the two indexes are now easier to use because the index entries are now the links to the topic.

There is a What’s New page where the changes are tracked.

I also added a page about What I am doing.

For those who have about a minute to just get the highlights of being a Benedictine oblate, there is a Mini Index giving you what you need to know fast.

For those who want more in-depth materials on monastic topics, in addition to the other resource links, such as booklists and online messages boards, there are now links to about 20 major monastic articles in the New Advent encyclopedia.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

End of the Year. A Benedictine oblate blog

The month of November is devoted to remembrance of the dead. Or in a larger view, to remembering those saints and people who have completed life on earth. This makes sense because November also completes the liturgical year.

This year, it is on November 30 that we start anew with Advent leading to the birth of Jesus.

I use the book Benedictine Daily Prayer (BDP) to pray the divine office and on November 26 the book has its last saint of the liturgical year to be honored. He is St. Silvester Gozzolini (“Born at Osimo, Italy, 1177; died at Monte Fano, 1267").

St. Silvester Gozzolini founded “the Silvestrine Benedictines, known as the Blue Benedictines from the color of their habit.” They followed a stricter interpretation of the Rule of St. Benedict. The small Silvestrine congregation still exists today after over 750 years and they have monasteries located on several continents, including at least two Silvestrine monasteries in the USA.

I was particularly drawn to the story of St. Silvester Gozzolini because, like St. Gregory, he was another active contemplative.

Early in St. Silvester’s adult life he became a “canon of the Cathedral (canons were the priests who assisted the bishop in running his diocese; their parish was the Cathedral church).” But he also longed to fulfill another dream — that of a contemplative.

Although it was St. Silvester’s desire to enter the solitary contemplative life, he continued in his duties at the diocese until his objection to the immoral life of the bishop caused the bishop to threaten Silvester’s removal. At about the same time, St. Silvester saw “firsthand the decaying corpse of a local nobleman who had been renowned for his physical beauty.”

St. Silvester left the diocese and went to live near the ocean in seclusion. However, disciples began to seek his guidance. That led to the formation of a group which later became a monastery and the Silvestrine congregation of Benedictine monks. Over his long life (he entered the heavenly realms at age 90) he founded 11 monasteries.

St. Silvester Gozzolini is another example of how the contemplative and active life are not in conflict.

BDP has this fitting final prayer to honor St. Silvester Gozzolini as the last saint in November, as we honor all who have gone on, and as we near the end of the liturgical year:

“Lord our God, you inspired blessed Silvester, your abbot, with the desire for monastic solitude and zeal for the active ministry. May we seek you always with true sincerity of heart and through our service in humility hasten toward our eternal home. This we ask of you.”



St. Silvester at St. Patrick Catholic Church

The picture is of a flying raven from IHeartVector Thank you!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two steps forward and one farther look ahead. A Benedictine oblate blog

It’s been about two years since my wife and I first visited the monastery near our home — the abbey is about 45 minutes away on the Interstate — an easy drive and it’s just enough time to help us fully arrive when we get there physically.

We spend the drive-time talking about spiritual matters — often more in-depth discussions about topics we shared with each other at home. “I have been thinking more about what you said about ......”

Two years is also just enough time to think about where I was and where I am now since first visiting the monastery.

My current life has not changed direction from my pre-oblate life. The difference is more like the difference between partial and greater fulfillment, or between being at mile marker 10 previously and knowing I am now at mile marker 20.

I am more content, happier, and closer to God in daily life — I might say that in the two years since I began visiting the monastery I have taken two large steps forward — the greatest progress since I became a Christian. Great, right?

Yes, but having taken two steps forward has brought me to a place where I can now see farther down the road — I can see better how far away I am from the Christian soul I should have or now desire to have.

Two years ago I would have pointed to a much closer horizon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The protection of silence. A Benedictine oblate blog

I spent most of the weekend listening to EWTN TV shows I recorded (Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph — Bob and Penny Lord) and I played them over and over as I worked on revisions to the Oblate Spring website associated with this blog.

The TV show is on the history of church heresies. I like the Scandal of the Cross series because of its overview of large blocks of time in church history. We are more closely related to those events of long ago than ever reported in today’s press. And reading a paper from the 11th century would probably better prepare me to understand my world.

I also enjoyed thinking about a wonderful postal poem by a Square Peg Breaks Free. For me, her super poem is about time and noise. I liked the poem and the photograph by Mikey G. Ottowa.

Life has lots of noise — not the TV shows, they actually helped me see that much of what passes as news and happenings and things to follow really have little effect except as distractions today.

The postal poem and photograph helped remind me that silence’s first protection is from the noise of empty time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When is a retreat over? A Benedictine oblate blog

In the past two years my wife and I have had four weekend retreats at the monastery located about 45 minutes from our home. For each retreat we prepared more than the previous one. And after returning home from each retreat, we have spent more time “still being there” than the previous one. We enjoy them very much and our periodic retreats have a greater and greater influence in our lives.

With Advent coming soon, we have another reason to focus on prayer, silence, and God’s love.

And it is easier for me to know how to do the divine office, because I have more experience with it. I spend less time trying to learn what to do with the Benedictine Daily Prayer book I use for the divine office.

And I have been fortunate to have several books that have captured all of my interest in monastic history and thought. With the enjoyment of a Thanksgiving feast, I am reading three books “Benedictine Biographies” which was written in 1912; “The Love of Learning and The Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture” which is a series of lectures given in Rome in 1955; and “Saint Benedict” which is a readable version of the life of St. Benedict.

And my wife and I have been discussing many EWTN TV shows recently. Maybe it is just us, but in the past month we have seen wonderful shows. I am still listening to EWTN Live on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Audio), and another EWTN Live show on a new traditional church design in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. EWTN Audio of Show and Church website showing pictures of this Romanesque style church. This new church is going to be opened soon and if we lived closer we would be there. I think it will be opened in a few weeks. This new great church is at the intersection of I-75 and I-40.

All of the following has also caused me to realize how little I know about monastic history and Catholic church/saint history — and how far I am away from the monastic life I can see dimly.

But, if direction rather than perfection is the test, in that alone I have ample reason to be thankful for God’s mercy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Here is a long quote from Vatican Information Service (VIS)


VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Pope today received participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. The assembly was held from 18 to 20 November.

Having recalled the theme of the meeting - "Monastic life and its significance in the Church and the world today" - the Holy Father indicated that "consecrated persons are a special part of the People of God. Supporting and protecting their faithfulness to the divine call is the fundamental role you play", he told the members of the dicastery.

Benedict XVI expressed the view that the work of these days, "which focused particularly on female monastic life, may provide useful guidance to monks and nuns who 'seek God", practising their vocation for the good of the whole Church". In this context he recalled how during his address last September to the world of culture in Paris, France, he had "highlighted the exemplary nature of monastic life in history, and underlined how its aim is both simple and essential: 'quaerere Deum', seeking God and seeking Him through Jesus Christ Who revealed Him, seeking Him by fixing one's gaze on the invisible truths that are eternal, in the expectation of the glorious manifestation of the Saviour".

"When consecrated people live the Gospel radically, when people dedicated to an entirely contemplative life profoundly cultivate the nuptial bond with Christ, ... then monasticism can, for all forms of religious and consecrated life, become a reminder of what is of essential and primary importance for all the baptised: seeking Christ and placing nothing before His love.

"The way indicated by God for this search and this love is His own Word", the Pope added, "abundantly present in the books of Sacred Scripture for mankind to reflect upon".

The recent Synod on the Word of God "renewed its appeal to all Christians to root their lives in listening to the Word of God as contained in Sacred Scripture, and invited religious communities in particular, and all consecrated men and women, to make the Word of God their daily sustenance, especially through the practice of 'lectio divina'".

The Holy Father concluded by expressing the hope that "monasteries may increasingly become oases of ascetic life, where the allure of the nuptial union with Christ is felt, and where the choice of the Absolute ... is immersed in a climate of constant silence and contemplation".

AC/MONASTIC LIFE/... VIS 081120 (420)



(1) All links in the above article are to Vatican documents, but the links were add by me in this blog post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Retreat Compline. A Benedictine oblate blog

Guesthouse where we stayed

My wife and I are back home from a long weekend retreat at wonderful St. Leo Abbey in Florida, USA (about 45 minutes north of Tampa/St. Petersburg).

We had a wonderful time. We prayed with the monks during all their divine offices (defined), attended Mass, read old books about St. Benedict, stared out over the Lake Jovita next to the monastery, and had some tasty food served by talented cooks at the monastery.

Orange trees and Lake behind guesthouse

The days are structured perfectly in monastic life, the entire day is focused on prayer and it is easy to stay close to prayer.

Yes, Florida is warm & beautiful

We walked a lot, walking is a good way to fill some time before or after a divine office. The weather did turn coolish on Sunday, but we still read outside in the white chairs in front of the guesthouse, we just moved the chairs into the sun.

We returned home much rested in our hearts and saying to ourselves, ok, tell me again, what are the drawbacks of that type of life?

May the divine assistance remain with us always,
And with our absent sister.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I did this week. A Benedictine oblate blog

I was inspired by all the oblate, monastic, and spiritual blogs I read this week. All the blogs I link to were particularly meaningful to me this week. Each one described some aspect of God’s love, mercy, grace or my relation to it and a path to a more spiritual life. I found myself saying, “oh yes, now I see that more clearly than I did before.”

I have also remembered the saints this week, with a focus on the Benedictine saints. I have thought about saints, read about them, watched EWTN shows(1) on saints, and prayed the divine offices about saints this week — all those activities were particularly meaningful to me this week.

Lastly, I watched several EWTN TV shows (I had recorded previously) on Catholics in Russia and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under the Soviets.

These TV shows gave me just a glimpse at how many people have suffered and died for their faith in the recent past.

The movement of the Church from decades of underground existence to more public expressions and the rebuilding of Catholic churches and institutions such as seminaries is one of the major Church events happening in the world today. It is a big deal.

To help document the time when the Church in Ukraine was underground, about 100,000 pages of interviews have been taken so that this chapter in history will not be lost.

Being underground meant that nothing was written, no pictures were taken, everything was secret, no buildings were built, no media campaigns were conducted, no one blogged about being a Catholic, no conferences were held, because to do so meant imprisonment or death.

All worked far more than me, they faced suffering that I cannot imagine, but they never turned their backs on Truth or God’s love.

Doesn’t everything happen in or in relation to the United States? To me, as I live in the United States, I was wrong to think that those courageous Christians in Russia and the Ukraine were somehow disconnected from the life of the Church, instead I think that it was through their hands that the Church was brought to the third millennium. It was their hands on the line, not mine.



(1) “Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is now “the largest religious media network in the world, transmitting programming 24 hours a day to more than 148 million homes in 140 countries and territories on more than 4,800 cable systems, wireless cable, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users.”

EWTN's web site, has extensive written materials on Catholic topics. EWTN's reference materials are some of the best on the Internet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monastic Myths. A Benedictine oblate blog

I read the following today about St. Gregory the Great (a pope and doctor of the Church who lived from c. 540-604 AD):

St. Gregory the Great "exercised a decisive influence on the share given in monastic culture to the spiritual tendency .... St. Gregory was a great pope, a great man of action; his Pastoral Care and his Letters have become sources of moral theology, canon law, and medieval pastoral theology. But he was also a great contemplative, a great doctor of the life of prayer." (1)

My pre-oblate view was that the contemplative life meant a life that was not involved with the world. I think my previous ideas were part of the modern view that faith/religion are private matters not related to action in the world. My reasoning might have been: if a religious life tended to diminish a person’s involvement in the world compared to a nonreligious person, then a contemplative religious life would tend to diminish a person’s activity even more.

This was all part of my general sense that monastic contemplative living was marked out primarily on a scale in which the "contemplative life and less worldly involvement" were on one end of the scale and the "noncontemplative life and more worldly involvement" were at the other end of the scale. The test of the contemplative life became simply where a person was placed each day on that one dimensional scale. On days when there was more worldly involvement, the person became less contemplative.

Somehow I think St. Gregory would not have viewed his life this way. And I think that this great man who worked fully in the world might still be good example for a simple oblate today.

I think that St. Gregory lived the Christian life, deeply spiritual and contemplative, full of prayer, and because of such direction and strength, he was able to be fully involved in God’s world. Where else would he be?


(1) The Love of Learning and The Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture by Jean Leclercq. Fordham University Press (1982), Edition: Rep Sub, Paperback, Page 25

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lectio for our retreat. A Benedictine oblate blog

I have been preparing for an upcoming retreat at a Benedictine monastery in the same way as I prepared for the annual oblate retreat of several weeks ago. I have selected an idea or spiritual practice as my theme during the weeks before the upcoming retreat.

My focus for our upcoming retreat is divine reading — the slow contemplative reading of scripture where I let God talk to my heart and mind. This type of reading is called lectio divina (pronounced lex-ee-oh dih-vee-nuh).

Lectio divina is an ancient spiritual practice — it is not a practice of learning. It is not reading for the details of a theological system or for history. It is divine reading formed in silence. It is listening beyond the words. It is a wonderful way for me to prepare for the next retreat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The line forms at the beginning. A Benedictine oblate blog

My wife and I went to the monastery recently for a special 5:00 pm vespers. For this vespers, the monks walk into the church in a slow procession — side by side in two lines. They are not gloomy or stiff. They are not hesitant, they are not hurried.

The monks convey the confidence of flowing grace. It is a regular part of what they have done many times — but they know that this is something important — they are together, walking in as one community. The entire procession is a single, free, and purposeful gesture.

The monks are cloaked in their black robes as they always are. As they move into the church and up the center aisle, I think about the stability of this ancient form of monastic worship, the divine office.

As each pair reaches the top of the few steps to the raised area where the altar and choir stalls are located, the first two monks bow to the altar in unison and then turn and bow to each other. Then the monk on the left goes to the choir stalls on the left and monk on the right goes to the choir stalls on the right. The monks are now looking across the altar — seeing Christ in each other.

This graceful movement of coming up the steps, bowing twice, and walking to their seats continues until all the monks are seated and the divine office is about to begin.

But for me, as the last two monks walk into the church, in my mind’s eye I can still see the line of monks continuing on back — more than a 1,000 years into the past — day after day of monks who also walked silently into a church and sang the psalms — those ancient songs to God. The monks in this abbey church today deserve much respect in my view, and I know that I am very fortunate to be here to watch and pray with them.

“O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Everyone bows.

“Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen”


The verse:

“O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me”

comes from Psalm 70 and was quoted by St. John Cassian (360-435 AD) as the verse that should be repeated frequently by a monk to keep his mind fixed on God. According to Cassian the psalm-70 phrase was used by the earliest desert fathers to help them in all situations.

John Cassian’s accounts and interpretations of the most ancient wisdom of the desert fathers were important in the “transmission of the culture of Egyptian monasticism into the early medieval west.” It’s a long procession of monks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Balance: the answer to all questions? A Benedictine oblate blog

I searched the Vatican’s web site for materials on monasticism. I found about 80 documents. Many of the documents are written by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

I have been reading more materials from the Vatican because of their quality, depth, and insight.

Regarding the topic of monasticism, I have learned that the Vatican documents do not treat monasticism in isolation from the rest of the Church, instead monasticism is part of the whole. This image of an integrated monasticism might help me to see that monasticism should also NOT be treated in isolation from the wider world.

It is a fascinating question for me: How have monasteries lived apart from their communities yet have become great influences on those communities? I think "Balance" will be part of the answer!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Liturgy/Lectio is a window. A Benedictine oblate blog

Ora et Labora (prayer and work) is a well-known theme for the Benedictine balance in the lives of monks, nuns, and sisters. But that is exactly why I, as an oblate, also like Benedictine spirituality for my regular life in the world where I have a job, spouse, extended family, and bills like everyone else.

It is not so much that I want to be a secluded monk, but I want a deep spirituality in my regular, ordinary life. Oblate monasticism gives me that balance. And as you can tell, I have been thinking a lot about that lately.

I wrote in the previous blog post that the first word in the Rule of St. Benedict, “Listen,” is the recurring link in the cycle of prayer and work.

And there may be a more elemental way for me to see the Benedictine balance between my life of detachment in prayer and my life of attachment to this world in work.

Liturgical prayer and lectio divina serve as a window. On one side they open my spiritual life to God and on the other side they open the same spiritual life to this world.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Listening. A Benedictine oblate blog

[Click picture to enlarge]

The picture is of the version of the Rule I read and the beads were given to me by a very generous and kind oblate at the retreat held a few weeks ago.

Many editions of the Rule of St. Benedict have date notations so you can read through the Rule three times in a year. And in chapter 66 St. Benedict wrote that the Rule should be read to monks frequently. It is a practice that oblates also try to follow.

The Rule of St. Benedict begins with the word Listen, perhaps the most significant word in the Rule.

Certainly it is the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of the Rule.

Ora et labora (prayer and work) are the ideas (some would say the theme of the Benedictine life) that are often used to identify Benedictine practices. I think that “Listen” — the first call of the master in the Rule — is the recurring link between prayer and work in our daily lives. Visually, it might look like a strand of beads:

Listen — Pray — Listen — Work — Listen — Pray — Listen — Work

Blog housekeeping

The right sidebar has been reorganized so that blogs are listed as blogs and I can see when they have been updated. Web sites have been listed separately.

I like this better and hope you do too.

Trip to library. A Benedictine oblate blog

I did not go to the monastery for compline tonight, but I was able to spend about an hour in the excellent university library next to the monastery. I checked out three Benedictine books — published in 1912, 1937, and 1954.

Each book has material on early monasticism and I want those sections to enlighten my heart. In my mind I think I have an incorrect view of the earliest practices and I want to go back to the beginning and make sure I build on a solid foundation.

I missed going to compline tonight, my favorite office, but you can be sure I was well aware that an elder monk opened the front door of the church about 7:50 pm and walked through the darkened church as he has done for over 60 years at this abbey.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Children, knowledge and light. A Benedictine oblate blog

Yesterday I visited a Catholic Benedictine monastery for 5:00 pm vespers and 8:00 pm compline.(1)

Between vespers and compline I went to the excellent library of the university that is adjacent to the monastery.

I used the time in the library to write yesterday’s blog while sitting in one of the out-of-the-way study carrels by the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Lake Jovita.

As it got dark outside I could tell that the library was filling with students. A few talked or chatted on their cell phones. All had notebook computers.

About 7:35 pm, I packed up from my work and had to walk the full length of the library to get to the front door. There was a low hum of student activity. One student was staring ahead, a couple of students appeared to be getting needed rest.

As I looked around the library, it was 40 years ago for me and I knew what they were feeling — college students working on a paper at night and on themselves when they had time.

I realized that the students were so young and that 40 years gives more experiences from which to learn the meaning of life and to find love. Ironically, these students were sitting in a place filled with knowledge, yet the knowledge to treasure might be found years ahead.

I wondered what I would have thought if a 60-year-old oblate had approached me while I was a student 40 years ago and asked if I wanted to hear about the things he once thought were true, but now knows to be dead ends? Yep, he would have been the last person I would have listened to.

I wondered about the path each of those students in the library last night would take in the next 40 years of their lives. I thought, they are young, will they gain true knowledge?

I walked to the abbey church and arrived there about 7:45 pm which gave me some time alone in the quiet, dark church before the monks came in one by one for 8:00 pm compline, the last divine office of the day.

After several minutes, I heard the solid click of the church’s heavy front door. There was no other sound, but after a little while, a black-robed monk walked slowly past me.

He is a monk in his 80s (at least). He is typically the first to enter the church before the divine offices.

This monk has been at the abbey since before WWII. Those years of monastic life came with him as he glided past me in the darkness.

He got to the steps at the front of the church. He stopped, he bowed deliberately to the altar. He took a few more steps and then stopped again to shift his weight slightly to the left to take the first step for the short climb to the choir stalls.

As I sat staring ahead, I wondered what this elder monk might have been thinking about me as he walked past in the dark. Could it have been: “He is young, will he see the light?”


(1) Vespers and compline are two of the daily divine offices.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oblate Sunday. A Benedictine oblate blog

Oblate Sunday was like we had never left the weekend retreat from last month. This oblate Sunday was deeply humbling and provided new spiritual guidance. Both the retreat and this most recent oblate Sunday had conferences on God’s love and mercy given by the Abbot.

I like oblate monasticism because I sense that I am moving little by little to a life closer to God, to a more obedient life, and to a life secluded by a peaceful heart.

The Abbot’s teaching might be thought of in one of two ways depending on your view of the spiritual growth. For instance, I see the Abbot painting the grand structures and main forms of a picture on a large canvas which we can then fill in with the details of our own lives. Or, I might be seeing the Abbot using fine brush strokes to paint the most intricate details of the painting while leaving it to us to color-in the easier parts of our own Christian life.

So, I returned home with a clearer picture of what the result should look like in my own life and a greater confidence that I know where to work.



I looked at the ceiling tile in the St. Leo Abbey Lake Room to see if it matched the tiles from another monastery. (see previous blog). Yes, both ceiling tiles are WHITE! But, beyond that they are totally different! I added the a picture of the St. Leo Abbey ceiling tile to the previous blog so you can see how off my memory was.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Benedictine detective. A Benedictine oblate blog

The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are renovating their monastery in Clyde, Missouri, USA.

They have a blog at which they record their progress. And they have a picture of a ceiling tile from their old monastery. It is the picture at the top of this blog. The tile seems similar to tile in the St. Leo Abby — at least the way I remember it.

My wife and I are going to St. Leo today for oblate Sunday and I will take a picture of the St. Leo Abbey ceiling tile to see if they are the same. The tile is in the room the oblates meet — called the Lake Room because it overlooks the beautiful lake next to the abbey.

I will let you know.

November 4, 2008. Well, we went to the St. Leo Abbey and here is their ceiling tile:

Hey, they are both white!